A Wedding Photographer Reflects on Maternity | xo Rachel

As you read this, I am in the final countdown of my second pregnancy. My son is due in just 9 short days and I am eagerly awaiting his arrival. I wish I could say it’s just for the beautiful reasons like getting to hold him for the first time, seeing his face, counting his fingers and toes, but it’s also so I can flop down on my belly and sleep without a bowling ball trying to punch and kick it’s way out of my stomach the whole time. Hey, just being real.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about my experience and Ashley suggested I write this post to share it. It’s truly been a journey.

Let’s Start at the Beginning

A little backstory and I do want to warn you, there are some grief triggers in here, but I want to share my experience so that other women who may relate can know that they are not alone. If you want to skip ahead, please feel free.

In March of 2016, my husband and I found out I was pregnant and were over the moon. We’d tried and even planned for the most ideal timing for our family and wedding season, and it had worked! We lived in this glow for several weeks until my first OB appointment when my midwife got really quiet while doing my ultrasound. She told me that she wasn’t seeing what she would expect for someone who was 10 weeks pregnant. This started the process of learning that my child had stopped growing at 6 weeks and hearing the heart breaking news that there was no heartbeat. I will never forget those moments. The flood of emotions that swept over me and the feeling of desperate loss.

Miscarriage is very real, and so many women experience one and each experience is unique. Please know that grief looks different for everyone, and you are entitled to grieve this loss in the manner that works best for you. And there is no time limit. I think of my angel baby frequently. Even as I play with their big sister and await the arrival of their baby brother. They will have a piece of my heart always.

If you have experienced loss, please know I grieve with you.

Moving Forward

After I’d recovered from the miscarriage, we tried again. This time, we were cautiously optimistic when I got pregnant late in October. That cautious optimism led to full joy when we saw a healthy heartbeat and growing baby on the ultrasound at 12 weeks. Two months later, after a growing suspicion in my mind that this child was a boy, we got confirmation on his 20 week anatomy scan. I was a little astounded. After having a daughter, I’d just assumed I’d have all girls, but here he was. A little boy. Dingleberries and all. It took me a long time to reconcile this in my brain. In fact, it wasn’t until my husband and I secured his name that the surreality wore off.

Since that ultrasound, this little boy has been nothing but boisterous and insane. He regularly kicks me so hard that I think he’s literally trying to break out. He is strong, and I just know that he will be a wild one on the outside. He’ll be in good company and I’m sure his sister will teach him all the best ways to get in trouble.

Wedding Season and Pregnancy

I’m so grateful I still get to do what I love while being pregnant. My job is demanding, but thankfully my body is well equipped to handle the demands of a wedding day and growing a child. I know this isn’t everyone’s experience, but I am extremely grateful that it is mine. This doesn’t mean that things haven’t changed at all though.

When I was pregnant with my daughter, all the father daughter dances made me cry. Now it’s the mother son dances. That special moment between a mother and her son on his wedding day, a day that I am already anticipating for my boy, has taken on a new life for me. I now pay more attention to the reactions of parents as they watch their children make their vows and pledge to spend the rest of their life with the person that they love best in the world and makes them incredibly happy. I see the emotions play out, the years of growing up, the memories flash behind their eyes and it moves me like never before.

The best part of all this, is that the connection I have with my couples now extends to their families. From their parents to their sister or brother that’s married with kids. My ability to relate crosses all these lines now. And it rounds me out as a photographer more completely.

Now What?

Some of you may be wondering what my plans are moving forward. And if not, I’m gonna tell you anyway. I am coming back in September and will have both cameras blazing. I don’t intend to slow down at all. I can’t wait to bring my new experiences to bear on my work. I have a wonderful support network of people that love my sweet Ayden and are eagerly anticipating Atticus (yes, Atticus, like from To Kill a Mockingbird) and are ready to take them for wedding days and watch them for engagement and family sessions. I can’t wait to meet new people and continue to grow in my craft and be the best studio manager for Ashley Gerrity Photography that I can be. Bring it on.

So now I leave you with some lovely photos from our sweet associate Ann that show me in all my pregnant glory. As you can see her work is beautiful, and you can have your own beautiful photos for your wedding from her through AGP! I’ll see you all on the other side!

xo, Rachel

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